Are you having trouble getting your business to page one in the organic rankings? Are you just not showing up in the local map results even for shoppers that are nearby?
Well, there’s many potential culprits but one of the most common issues I see when businesses are struggling to rank well is that they don’t have any good links! Recent algorithm updates might have put more emphasis on the quality of your content ie. does it exhibit expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness ( E-A-T ) but links are still a prominent factor in getting your pages to rank well.
What Are Backlinks?
A backlink is an outbound link that takes a user from somebody else’s website to yours. Google looks at this links as a kind of voting system to determine which websites and content to show to searchers when they make a query. There’s basically two main types of links which are follow and no-follow links. When a website links back to you with a followed link they’re basically saying to search engines and users that “we think this content is pretty good, go take a look”. A no-follow link is used when you don’t want to vouch for another website and give them that vote of approval.
This is definitely an oversimplification and since link-building has been abused by seo folks over the years to manipulate rankings – search engines like Google have become much smarter about judging your link profile. Quality very much beats quantity at this point and Google looks at multiple factors to determine if your links are natural and relevant
- Do your links come from websites in a related industry or niche
- Do your links come from trusted websites
- Does the anchor text for your links look natural
- Are your links relevant and do they deliver value to the user
What’s The Difference Between Traditional Backlinks Vs. Local Backlinks?
One of the main differences between typical backlinks and local backlinks is that websites will often try to build backlinks from websites that have the highest domain authority whereas local businesses will often get more value from local links even if those websites have less authority. A link from a local business is highly relevant and has the additional benefit of creating additional awareness for your business with the target local audience. Improving rankings isn’t necessarily the only objective or benefit with a local link building campaign.
How Do I Build More Links For My Business?
Great question, there’s been many articles written on the topic with a wide range of ideas including this article from WhiteSpark which overviews 7 easy local link building tactics you should be using. I’m going to curate my article down to the 5 “low-hanging fruit” opportunities that every local business can capitalize on.
1. Local Citations
Having consistent NAP info ( Name, Address, Phone # ) for your business across the most prominent citations is an essential piece of the puzzle for a successful local seo strategy so you should on top of this anyways. However, it’s also a useful link building tactic. Wait, aren’t links from local citations no-followed? For the most part that answer to that is yes but there are many citation sites with dofollow links that pass “link-juice” to potentially help you rank better. Keep in mind that many local seo professionals rely heavily on this tactic for link building and links from local citations alone likely won’t be enough to reach your goals.
2. Local/Niche Directories
Regardless of where you’re located or what type of business you run there’s most likely some directories that are relevant for you. As with local citation links, this isn’t a great tactic to differentiate your website from competitors but it’s a nice way to get the ball rolling. If you’re an Edmonton business here’s a few local links you can easily acquire
- Edmonton Made
- B2B Connect Edmonton
- Check if your community league website showcases local businesses
- Check with your local business association
- Edmonton Find
3. Local Business Relationships
If you’re a local business there’s a good chance that you know some other local business owners. For example, if you provide a home service like furnace repair you might have relationships with other home service providers like cleaning or handyman services that can link back to you.
4. Competitor Research
Your top ranking competitors likely have some good links so naturally doing a little investigative work can be a valuable tactic. You can leverage free competitive analysis tools from SemRush or Moz to see your competitor’s best links and make a list of targets you might be able to acquire for yourself.
5. Local Sponsorships
Does your business support the local peewee hockey team or your favourite local charity? Many of these organizations have websites that link out to supporters and resources which is good for business. You could try using a Google search like this ( [edmonton] inurl:sponsorships ) to find some of these local opportunities but the best options often won’t be found here. Get involved in your local community and find some ways you can help out.